Music on Main will present Book of Travelers and Magnificent Bird, two albums by American composer and singer-songwriter Gabriel Kahane, in consecutive performances later this month as part of his week-long residency with the classical and contemporary music programmer.
“Gabriel Kahane is an extraordinary musician and storyteller,” says David Pay, artistic director of Music on Main. “His humour, compassion, and intelligence shine through in songs that speak directly to the listener’s heart. We’re delighted to bring Vancouver audiences this rare chance to hear his two amazing concerts back-to-back, both exploring detailed moments in life that are at times heart wrenching and full of hope.”
Both distinct yet complementary song cycles were conceived and created three years apart during the artist’s self-imposed isolation from the internet and social media in 2016 and 2019.
In the lead-up to the 2016 US presidential election, Kahane felt a need to leave the digital world. Regardless of the election’s outcome, he decided to board a train the next day and talk to strangers in unmediated, uninterrupted face-to-face encounters. Over 13 days, 31 states, 8,980 miles, and countless dining-car meals later, Kahane engaged with more than 80 people from all walks of life, making songs from the stories he had heard. The resulting Book of Travelers is a collection of intimate and varied character sketches.
Three years later, in 2019, Kahane expanded his artistic quest to a year-long digital detox, sending him into in-person conversations with strangers until the pandemic redirected his journey inward toward his self-discovery and disclosure. Then, in the final month of his internet hiatus, Kahane resolved to write one song every day. This second self-imposed digital isolation resulted in his fifth solo album, Magnificent Bird.
During Kahane’s week-long residency with Music On Main, he will also compose new work, which will premiere at The Tempest Project, a new immersive production led by Music on Main artistic director David Pay.
Music on Main presents Gabriel Kahane’s Book of Travelers (May 10) and Magnificent Bird (May 11) at the Annex (823 Seymour St, Vancouver). Visit musiconmain.ca for tickets and information.